BBC opens its comedy college again

Call goes out for new writers

The BBC has announced that it will run its College of Comedy for up-and-coming writers for a second year.

Under the scheme, a handful of promising writers attend a workshop, receive mentoring from established writers then spend time working on an existing BBC comedy.

Over the past year ten students – Catherine Shepherd; Leah Chillery; twin writing duo Rob and Neil Gibbons; Morgan Lloyd Malcolm, Verity Rose Woolnough, Katie Lyons from Trippplicate; Andrew Viner and stand-up John Warburton – have been working on various BBC projects.

These include a BBC Three sitcom Ebony's Yard, which is currently in development, the BBC Two comedy Psychoville from League of Gentlemen writers Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton, and Bear Behaving Badly for CBBC.

The writers have also been developing their own material and last night, their six scripts were performed in front of an audience of comedy producers, directors, writers and agents.

Micheal Jacob, who runs the scheme, said: ‘It has been really exciting to see these very talented writers develop over the year, and to showcase some excellent work in progress. When we launched the scheme I said I hoped to be the Arsene Wenger of comedy – they have made me feel like I am. I’m sure next year will be just as rewarding.’

Among those backing the scheme are Armando Iannucci, Two Pints Of Lager writer Susan Nickson, and Peep Show creators Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong.

Writers of half-hour narrative comedy or comedy sketches should apply to by noon on April 24.

Applicants will have had their work broadcast, commissioned for development or performed professionally.

As a condition of the scheme, original work by the writers must be submitted to the BBC under a ‘first-look’ deal, which will run for 12 months from the scheme's end in April 2010.

Published: 26 Mar 2009

Today's comedy-on demand picks


The UK's longest-running improv team are putting a show online for the very first time since they started in 1985. They will be live-stream an hour of Sunday night footage from their archives from 7.30pm.

The line-up will feature Paul Merton, Richard Vranch, Neil Mullarkey Josie Lawrence, Lee Simpson and Andy Smart.

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... including Andrew Maxwell Breaks The Internet and a streamed version of the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe curio Panopticon, from the Consignia sketch group.

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